Best Practices For IGTV Videos

With the recent launch of Instagram’s IGTV video platform, it’s important to understand how to best film, optimize, and upload full screen vertical videos for the new service. Instagram released a helpful Creator Handbook for IGTV, but since it’s almost 50 pages long we’ve distilled some best practices to help guide your production when filming IGTV content with a mobile device. Read our full guide below.

If you missed our initial announcement of IGTV, make sure to check it out first to get a quick overview of Instagram’s new video-centric platform.

Filming

Camera settings, resolutions, frame rate, and lighting:

  • If you’ll be shooting your videos on a smart phone, we recommend making a few updates to the phone’s settings in order to capture the best vertical videos. The first thing we’d recommend is turning on the grid on the camera. This will help with composing a good video and keeping your subject in the frame.
  • It’s also important to understand the different resolutions and frame rates of your camera. This resolution chart below is a good guide for each setting:

  • The higher the frame rate, the more light you’ll need. So if you try to capture 60, 120, or 240 frame per second slo-mo, it’s important to have good lighting conditions.
  • It’s always a good idea to film in 4K, even if you don’t intend on sharing the video in 4K. Shooting in 4K will give you the most flexibility when editing.

Focus and exposure tips:

  • When filming on your phone’s camera, you can tap anywhere on the screen to focus on and expose that area of the image.
  • You can also tap and hold to lock auto focus and auto exposure on most phones.
  • Finally, you can also swipe up or down as you tap or tap and hold to adjust exposure.

Sound:

  • If you are shooting outdoors and the wind is affecting the audio, try shielding your phone’s microphone while you shoot.
  • If you are capturing sound from a distance, try using a remote microphone or a second phone closer to the object to record the audio.

Recommended apps for filming:

  • Filmic Pro
    • Features include: adjust frame rate, ISO and shutter speed, cinematic zoom and rack focus.
    • D-LOG mode lets you capture a low-contrast, desaturated, raw video, which will help with color correction.
    • Get it for iOS & Android.
  • ProCam
    • Features include: grid with built in level, pick different resolutions/frame rates and cinematic zoom.
    • Available on iOS only.

Editing

Editing vertical video:

  • It’s possible to edit vertical videos in most editors. If the software you are using supports vertical video, you should be able to just select 9:16 aspect ratio for your project.
  • If you have software that doesn’t support vertical video, or if switching to 9:16 adds black pillar boxes to your project: rotate your vertical video to horizontal, create your edits, then export the video in horizontal. Once exported, you can use QuickTime to rotate the final file.
  • If you have existing horizontal videos that you want to convert into vertical videos, you can do that with desktop apps like Wave and mobile apps like InShot (more on that app below).

Recommended apps for editing:

  • Videoleap
    • Features include: green screen (lets you remove background or foreground objects, key frames and animated titles and title masking.
    • Available on iOS only.
  • InShot
    • Features include: ability to select 9:16 canvas size to easily make vertical videos, easily add filters, stickers, and music to your project.
    • Available on iOS and Android.

Accessories

Lenses and stabilization:

  • The image below gives some details on the different types of lense accessories you can get for your mobile camera.

  • Most phone cameras have built in stabilization, but if you are filming on the go or filming moving objects a lot, it is probably a good idea to invest in stabilization accessories.
  • If you will be using both lense and stabilization accessories, you will probably need some counterbalance weights for your set up.

As always, reach out to us if you have any questions on filming and editing videos for IGTV.